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Japanese Environmental Philosophy
Japanese Environmental Philosophy
  • The first anthology on the subject of Japanese environmental philosophy
  • Breaks new ground in the fields of Asian and comparative philosophy, environmental ethics, environmental aesthetics, religious studies, and Asian studies
  • Informs on environmental and animal ethics, Japanese environmental law and policy, Japanese philosophy and religion, global climate change, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Japanese Environmental Philosophy is an anthology that responds to the environmental problems of the 21st century by drawing from Japanese philosophical traditions to investigate our relationships with other humans, nonhuman animals, and the environment. It contains chapters from fifteen top scholars from Japan, the United States, and Europe. The essays cover a broad range of Japanese thought, including Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, the Kyoto School, Japanese art and aesthetics, and traditional Japanese culture.



Foreword: Back to the Future? Carl B. Becker

Introduction J. Baird Callicott and James McRae

Section I: Nature in the Japanese Tradition of Thought
1. Thinking the Ambient: On the Possibility of Shizengaku (Naturing Science) Augustin Berque
2. Pure Land Ecology: Taking the Supernatural Seriously in Environmental Philosophy Leah Kalmanson
3. From Kyosei to Kyoei: Symbiotic Flourishing in Japanese Environmental Ethics James McRae

Section II: Human Nature and the Environment
4. Kukai and Dogen as Exemplars of Ecological Engagement Graham Parkes
5. Sensation, Betweenness, Rhythms: Watsuji's Environmental Philosophy and Ethics in Conversation with Heidegger INUTSUKA Yu
6. Climate Change as Existentialist Threat: Watsuji, Greimas, and the Nature of Opposites Steve Bein

Section III: Environmental Aesthetics
7. Whitehead's Perspectivism as a Basis for Environmental Ethics & Aesthetics:A Process View on the Japanese Concept of Nature Steve Odin
8. Japanese Gardens: The Art of Improving Nature Yuriko Saito
9. Kuki Shuzo and Platonism: Nature, Love, and Morality YAMAUCHI Tomosaburo

Section IV: Nature and Japanese Culture
10. Recollecting Local Narratives for the Land Ethic TOYODA Mitsuyo
11. Recognizing the Crucial Role of Culture in Japanese Environmental Philosophy Midori Kagawa-Fox
12. Kagura: Embodying Environmental Philosophy in the Japanese Performing Arts GODA Hiroko

Section V: Natural Disasters
1. Disaster Prevention as an Issue in Environmental Ethics TAKAHASHI Takao
2. Non-Dualism after Fukushima? Tracing Dogen's Teaching vis-à-vis Nuclear Disaster Masato Ishida
3. Planetary Philosophy and Social Consensus Building KUWAKO Toshio

Afterword J. Baird Callicott

About the author: 

J. Baird Callicott is the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy and author or editor of a score of books and author of dozens of journal articles, encyclopedia entries, and book chapters in environmental philosophy and ethics. Callicott has served the International Society for Environmental Ethics as President, Yale University as Bioethicist-in-Residence, and the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center as Visiting Senior Research Scientist (funded by the National Science Foundation). His most recent book is Thinking Like a Planet: The Land Ethic and the Earth Ethic (Oxford University Press, 2013) and he is currently writing a textbook on Presocratic natural philosophy.

James McRae serves as Vice-Chair of the Faculty and Associate Professor of Asian Philosophy and Religion at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. His publications include the books Environmental Philosophy in Asian Traditions of Thought (with J. Baird Callicott, SUNY Press, 2014) and The Philosophy of Ang Lee (with Robert Arp and Adam Barkman, University Press of Kentucky, 2013).


Carl Becker holds a Ph.D. in comparative philosophy from the University of Hawai'i at Ma with a specialization in Japanese Buddhism. Subsequently he taught Asian Philosophy at Southern Illinois University and the University of Hawai'i, and Comparative Thought at Japan's National Osaka, Tsukuba, and Kyoto Universities. He serves on the editorial boards of Mortality, and of the Journal for the Study of Spirituality. 

Steve Bein is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, specializing in Japanese philosophy and ethics. His publications include Purifying Zen: Watsuji Tetsuro's Shamon Dogen (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011) and Compassion and Moral Guidance (University of Hawai'i Press, 2011). He is also a science fiction and fantasy novelist, and publishes essays on philosophy and science fiction in Blackwell's Pop Culture and Philosophy Series.

Augustin Berque holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Paris and served as the Director of Studies at the EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences. He has also served as Director of the Maison Franco-Japonaise in Tokyo, an invited researcher at the Nichibunken (Centre for International Research on Japanese Culture, Kyoto), and a Professor at Miyagi University, Sendai. His numerous publications include the books Le Sauvage et l'Artifice: Les Japonais Devant la Natur (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), Être Humains Sur la Terre: Principes d'Éthique de l'Écoumène (Paris: Gallimard, 1996), and Milieu et Identité Humaine: Notes Pour un Dépassement de la Modernité (Paris: Editions Donner Lieu, 2010). A member of the Academia Europaea, he was in 2009 the first Westerner to receive the Fukuoka Grand Prize for Asian cultures.

J. Baird Callicott holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Syracuse University and recently retired as University Distinguished Research Professor and Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Texas. He is one of the founders of environmental ethics and philosophy, teaching the world's first course on the subject in 1971. He has served the International Society for Environmental Ethics as President and Yale University as Bioethicist-in-Residence. He is the author or editor of a score of books, including Thinking Like a Planet (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), Environmental Philosophy in Asian Traditions of Thought (with James McRae, Albany: SUNY Press, 2014), Earth's Insights (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), In Defense of the Land Ethic (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), and Beyond the Land Ethic (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999). The anthology, Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought (Albany, SUNY Press, 1989), which he co-edited with Roger T. Ames, was the world's first book on the subject of comparative environmental philosophy.

GODA Hiroko holds a Doctorate of Social Anthropology from Tokyo Metropolitan University. After retiring as a professor at Hyogo Prefectural University in 2011, she founded the Institute of Environmental Anthropology, where she has continued to study the correlation of society and environment, especially focusing upon the environmental ethics reflected in folk customs and rituals in Japan. Some of her recent publications on these topics are The Environmental Anthropology of Miyaza and Touya (Tokyo: Fuukyo-sha, 2010) and "Amphibious Gods Linking Mountain, River & Sea and Irrigation Technology", in KUWAKO Toshio's Topology of Japanese Culture (Tokyo: Toushin-do, 2008).

INUTSUKA Yu is a doctoral student at the University of Tokyo, currently preparing her Ph.D. thesis on the thought of WATSUJI Tetsur in the context of environmental philosophy and ethics. She is a research fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (since April 2015) and of the Research Center for International Japanese Studies at Hosei University (since December 2015). Her publications include the article "From Environmental Ethics to the Ethics of the Ecumene: The Landscape of the Genetically Modified Crops" in YAMADA Tomoyuki's Applied Ethics: Ethics in an Era of Emerging Technologies (Hokkaido: CAEP, 2014) and "The Formation and Structure of Augustin Berque's Mesology" in the Journal of Information Studies, 86, March (2014): 207-224 (in Japanese).

Midori Kagawa-Fox was born and raised in Japan. She holds a Ph.D. in Asian Studies from The University of Adelaide, Australia, and specializes in Ethics and Japanese environmental policy. She is currently teaching the Asian Studies course at The University of Adelaide. Her publications include The Ethics of Japan's Global Environmental Policy: The Conflict Between Principles and Practice (New York: Routledge, 2012) and "Environmental Ethics from the Japanese Perspective" Ethics, Place and Environment 13, no.1 (2010): 57-73. 

Leah Kalmanson received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in 2010. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa) with research interests in comparative philosophy and postcolonial studies. Her publications include articles in journals such as Comparative and Continental Philosophy, Continental Philosophy Review, Hypatia, Shofar, and Frontiers of Philosophy in China, and edited volumes including Levinas and Asian Thought (with Frank Garrett and Sarah Mattice, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2013) and Buddhist Responses to Globalization (with James Mark Shields, Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014). 

KUWAKO Toshio holds a Doctor of Arts and Letters from the University of Tokyo with a specialization in philosophy. He currently serves as Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology. His publications include the books Philosophy of Environment (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1999), Philosophy in Landscape (Tokyo: University Tokyo Press, 2008), and Philosophy of Life and Landscape (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2013). 

James McRae holds a Ph.D. in comparative philosophy from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa with specializations in Japanese philosophy and ethics. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Faculty and Associate Professor of Asian Philosophy and Religion at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. His publications include the books Environmental Philosophy in Asian Traditions of Thought (with J. Baird Callicott, Albany: SUNY Press, 2014) and The Philosophy of Ang Lee (with Robert Arp and Adam Barkman, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013).

Steve Odin has taught in the Philosophy Department at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa since 1982. He has also served as a Visiting Professor at Boston University, Tohoku University and the University of Tokyo. He has received several fellowships for one-year periods of research and teaching in Japan, including those from The National Endowment of the Humanities, Japan Foundation, and two Fulbright awards. Among his publications are Process Metaphysics and Hua-Yen Buddhism (1982), The Social Self in Zen and American Pragmatism (1996) and Artistic Detachment in Japan and the West: Psychic Distance in Comparative Aesthetics (2001). His most recent book is Tragic Beauty in Whitehead and Japanese Aesthetics (forthcoming). 

Graham Parkes earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley. After three decades at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, he moved to University College Cork where he served as a Professor of Philosophy, Head of the Department of Philosophy, Head of the School of Sociology and Philosophy, and Director of the Irish Institute of Japanese Studies. His numerous publications include the books Heidegger and Asian Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987), Nietzsche and Asian Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), Composing the Soul: Reaches of Nietzsche's Psychology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), and a translation of Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 

Yuriko Saito, born and raised in Japan, received her Ph. D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is Professor of Philosophy at the Rhode Island School of Design, USA. Her writings on everyday aesthetics, Japanese aesthetics, and environmental aesthetics have appeared in a number journals and book chapters, some of which have been translated into Finnish, French, Polish, and Portuguese. Her Everyday Aesthetics was published by Oxford University Press in 2008. She is Associate Editor of Contemporary Aesthetics, an online, free-access, and peer-reviewed journal. 

TAKAHASHI Takao graduated from the University of Tokyo and holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Kyushu University. He is now an emeritus professor and visiting professor at Kumamoto University, Japan. His publications include the book Logic of "Co-existence with Disasters" (Fukuoka: Kyushu University Press, 2013) and Life, Environment, and Care (Fukuoka: Kyushu University Press, 2008), and he is the editor of the book Taking Life and Death Seriously: Bioethics from Japan (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2005). 

TOYODA Mitsuyo is an associate professor at Niigata University's Center for Toki and Ecological Restoration. She holds masters degrees from both the University of North Texas and University of Hawaii, and Ph.D. from Tokyo Institute of Technology. Her primary research interest is to combine environmental ethics, which she studied with Baird Callicott at the University of North Texas, with the dialogue-based educational method "philosophy for children" that she learned at the University of Hawaii. She examines philosophical issues that arise through the collaboration with the public and governmental sectors for sustainable development, and attempts to construct democratic process of environmental conservation. Her article, "Revitalizing Local Commons," appeared in Environmental Ethics 35, no. 3 (2013): 279-293.

ISHIDA Masato holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Pennsylvania State University and currently teaches in the Philosophy Department of University of Hawai'i at Manoa. He specializes in classical American philosophy, history and philosophy of logic, and traditional Japanese philosophy. His recent works include "The Geography of Perception: Japanese Philosophy in the External World" in Arindam Chakrabarti and Ralph Weber's Comparative Philosophy without Borders (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015) and "The Sense of Symmetry: Comparative Reflections on Whitehead, Nishida, and Dogen" in Process Studies, 41, 1 (2014): 4-34.

"It is, to my knowledge, one of the most (if not the most) comprehensive collections dealing with environmental philosophy in Japan ... it is abundant in ideas, hints, and clues that can help us develop a new frame of mind to help us deal with contemporary environmental problems. Secondly, it is structured upon the premise that "philosophy" should not be understood in a narrow sense (e.g., the Graeco-European tradition), but broadly as the practice of thinking about the world ... it is clear from their inclusion of thinkers as diverse as Dogen and Kukai, Watsuji and Imanishi that their stance on philosophy is very open and inclusive." -- Roman Pasca, H-Net

Product details

ISBN : 9780190456337

James McRae; J. Baird Callicott
336 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jul 2017
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Japanese Environmental Philosophy

Japanese Environmental Philosophy

Japanese Environmental Philosophy